Will This Time With Carl Landry Be Better?

USA TODAY Sports

The Kings have brought back Carl Landry, but he doesn't seem to fit any of Sacramento's needs.

Coming into this summer, Kings fans were looking forward to the draft and Free Agency. There was hope that the Kings could finally address the Small Forward situation, re-sign Tyreke Evans and maybe add a defensive big man. In various interviews, Pete D'Alessandro, the new Kings GM, cited passing and shooting as Sacramento's biggest offseason priorities, particularly at the PG and SF positions.

So it comes as no surprise that the signing of Carl Landry to a 4 year, $26 million contract comes as a shock to most. In Landry, the Kings have acquired a very efficient big man scorer who does nothing to help Sacramento's defense, passing or rebounding. This doesn't seem like a need, particularly since the Kings are still left with a gaping hole on the wing after a failed pursuit of Andre Iguodala and the trade of Tyreke Evans to the Pelicans. Kings fans are intimately familiar with what Carl Landry brings to the table, because he was a Sacramento King not two seasons ago.

So what gives?

First, let me start by saying that should Sacramento not trade one of their other big men (Jason Thompson, Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson) this move is perplexing.

Second, the Carl Landry Kings fans saw in 2010 and 2011 is not likely the same Carl Landry Kings fans will see in 2013 and it is because of two people: Mike Malone and Tyreke Evans.

When Carl Landry first came to Sacramento, the Kings plugged him in at Power Forward next to Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson and he impressed us with his scoring. However, there was a big problem that wasn't readily apparent until the following season. Paul Westphal wasn't utilizing Landry's strengths, which is right around the basket. Instead, Carl was shooting more and more jumpers, particularly from the 16-23 foot range, a.k.a the worst shot in basketball. Take a look at the following table.

Stats taken from HoopData's Shot Location Database.

2010 Houston

2010 Sacramento

2011 Sacramento

2011 New Orleans

2011-12 New Orleans

2012-13 Golden St.

At Rim

193-285

96-137

115-153

50-65

93-134

192-271

3 to 9

49-103

17-56

44-103

18-36

35-82

32-83

10 to 15

28-64

24-49

25-67

15-38

25-61

33-72

16 to 23

32-100

59-134

54-158

24-63

29-81

54-144

Three

0-0

1-3

0-3

0-1

0-3

1-3

Total

302-552

197-379

238-484

107-203

182-361

320-593

% of attempts

% of attempts

% of attempts

% of attempts

% of attempts

% of attempts

At Rim

0.516

0.361

0.316

0.32

0.371

0.457

3 to 9

0.187

0.148

0.213

0.177

0.227

0.139

10 to 15

0.116

0.129

0.138

0.187

0.169

0.121

16 to 23

0.181

0.354

0.326

0.31

0.224

0.243

Three

0

0.008

0.006

0.005

0.008

0.005

FG%

FG%

FG%

FG%

FG%

FG%

At Rim

0.677

0.701

0.752

0.769

0.694

0.708

3 to 9

0.476

0.304

0.427

0.5

0.427

0.386

10 to 15

0.438

0.49

0.373

0.395

0.41

0.458

16 to 23

0.32

0.44

0.34

0.38

0.36

0.38

Three

0

0.333

0

0

0

0.333

In his two seasons in Sacramento, Landry shot a higher percentage of his total attempts as 16-23 foot jumpers than any other time in his career. He also shot the fewest attempts of his career at the rim. It was also the only time in his career that his number of attempts from 16-23 feet were more than the number of attempts he shot at the rim. There was a bit of a carryover in this trend when he was traded to New Orleans at the trade deadline of the 2010-11 season, but that was remedied in his next full season in New Orleans, as you can see an uptick in rim attempts and a decrease in 16-23 foot jumpers.

Last year in Golden State, Landry upped his rim attempts to almost half of his total attempts, which does marvels for his efficiency, as he's consistently in the 70-75% range at the rim. He did shoot almost a quarter of his shots as 16-23 foot jumpers but that's much better than the 32-35% in Sacramento. Mike Malone saw Landry in action in both New Orleans and Golden State so he should be able to make better use of Landry's talents.

One reason the Kings had Landry shooting so much jumpers was the simple fact that the Kings were still utilizing Tyreke Evans as a featured scorer in the offense and that meant someone would have to stand outside to create a semblance of spacing. In his four years in Sacramento, 47.3% of Evans Field Goal attempts came at the rim, and that doesn't count all the times Evans was fouled attacking the basket. A team with Evans as a featured scorer needs to surround him with shooters, and so Landry wasn't near the basket as often.

Losing Evans for Greivis Vasquez was definitely a talent loss, but it also might be better for the whole team in terms of fit and offensive spacing. We should hopefully see an increase in attempts at the rim for Carl Landry and even DeMarcus Cousins with Evans gone. If Ben McLemore is able to adapt quickly, that's someone who will help spacing immensely with his outside shooting touch. With Landry's addition as a likely bench reserve and Vasquez as a pass-first Point Guard, Sacramento should see an increase in offensive efficiency.

Sacramento still has a lot of work to do to fill other gaps in their team. Small Forward is still a mess, and with Landry the Kings probably have one too many rotation bigs. But Rome wasn't built in a day and I have a hard time seeing how the Kings might have gotten worse so far this year. Different, but not worse. I won't and can't go as far as to say they've gotten better yet. A lot of that depends on Mike Malone, Ben McLemore and DeMarcus Cousins.

This offseason is far from over, and I doubt we have seen the last of the moves Sacramento will make.

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